Asean needs to be radical to end Myanmar conflict, says ex-foreign minister

10 May 2022 09:00am
Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar says Malaysia needs a lot more friends from other countries to speak on the issue.
Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar says Malaysia needs a lot more friends from other countries to speak on the issue.

SHAH ALAM - Asean’s Five-Point Consensus (5PC) aimed at addressing instability in Myanmar is a good start despite attempts to implement it has failed, said former foreign minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.

The 5PC within nine Asean leaders and Myanmar junta chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing had agreed to end human rights violations in Myanmar.

“Within Asean itself, I can say Myanmar is pretty sensitive about Western powers or the US telling them what to do. It is better for Asean to handle them.

“I think the 5-point consensus is a good start although it is still not working yet in Myanmar.

“We need to tackle this and I do not know whether they will ever change but Asean must do something more drastic and radical,” he said during the English Wacana Edition live show held at Kompleks Karangkraf, Shah Alam.

Also present were European Union Ambassador to Malaysia Michalis Rokas, Universiti Malaysia Asia-Europe Institute Economic Professor Datuk Prof Dr Rajah Rasiah and 15 other European ambassadors to discuss on global challenges faced by countries worldwide.

Also in attendance were Karangkraf Group Chairman Datuk Hussamuddin Yaacub, Karangkraf Group Executive Director Akmal Eirfan Mohamed Fauzi, Sinar Karangkraf Chief Executive Officer Farah Hussamuddin and Sinar Karangkraf Editor-in-Chief Rozaid Rahman.

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Syed Hamid said Malaysia needs more friends from other countries to speak up over the matter.

“Asean needs to do more as Malaysia keeps voicing what should be done.

“We need a lot more friends from other countries to speak with us,” he added.

At a summit in Jakarta on April 24, 2021, the nine Asean leaders and Myanmar junta chief, Min Aung Hlaing, agreed to five points - an immediate end to violence in the country; dialogue among all parties; the appointment of a special envoy; humanitarian assistance by Asean and the special envoy’s visit to Myanmar to meet with all parties.

However, the junta walked back its endorsement two days after the consensus agreement, announcing it would consider the “suggestions made by Asean leaders when the situation returns to stability.”

Junta violations since the coup include mass killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, and indiscriminate attacks on civilians that amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes.

It has been a year since the country’s armed forces seized full control of the government after arresting the nation’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and top members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in a raid, with ultimate authority resting with Min Aung Hlaing.